How Windmill Farms can steal the hearts of students

by Austin Gayle, Contributor

Surviving on a college-student budget, senior Jesse Boyle understands a burrito from Chipotle after class or a Starbucks coffee in the morning sometimes isn’t in the cards. With local grocery stores like Ralph’s and Vons simply not getting the job done, he looked elsewhere to meet his needs in the kitchen, and as a result, Boyle stumbled upon a community market that, in his words, “changed the game.”

Windmill Farms Community Market, located less than 2 miles from San Diego State on Del Cerro Boulevard, prides itself in offering fresh, low-cost meat and produce.

Also, it provides customers with a wide variety of nutritional supplements, baked goods produced in-house and a full-service deli.

“You have to get the Lindsay Special,” Boyle said in reference to one of the several sandwiches offered at Windmill Farms.

“With it being just five bucks, it really doesn’t make sense to go any other direction,” he said. “The golden combination of the cooked bacon, roasted turkey and avocado spread all on top of toasted sourdough bread can really turn your day around.”

With most of the SDSU student body relying on the sandwich mediocrity offered at Subway, Windmill Farms’ deli is more than capable of forcing the community at large to change its opinion of the $5 sandwich. Other than having a well-made vegetarian sandwich, Windmill Farms offers a variety of meats that include roasted turkey, ham, pastrami, tuna, roast beef and salami.

Also, the surplus of free toppings offered forces customers to pack away part of the sandwich for a later date, as just half the sandwich can serve as a sufficient meal. Now, if you were to go pick up one of these special sandwiches, don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting to pick up a “sandwich card”, for after seven purchases your eighth sandwich is free.

Manager Matt Mann also mentioned other promotions that Windmill Farms offers which are specifically intended for SDSU students, as they offer 10 percent off any purchase over $10 to all SDSU students, faculty and staff at the beginning of each semester.

Therefore, students can capitalize on this promotion anytime if they bring in their Red ID anytime before Feb. 29.

“The added 10 percent is definitely a bonus, but I rarely ever walk out of Windmill Farms spending more than $30, regardless of the promotion,” Boyle said. “I can confidently grab a week’s worth of fruits, vegetables and meat for less than $30. And that’s counting a Lindsay and a craft beer.”

Mann has recently emphasized the idea of Windmill Farms having the ability to produce affordable products that are prepared in-house for customers looking to enjoy satisfying, healthy meals on the run.

“One great thing about being a stand-alone, locally owned store is that we can do things a little different than the big chains,” Mann said.

“About 2 1/2 years ago, I went out and hired a chef to create made-from-scratch salads, proteins, meals and wraps. That way not everything that we sell at our store comes out of a box. … The ‘Dinner-a-go-go’ program has been very successful, quickly over taking our best hopes for it.”

While other grocery stores have managed to build a negative connotation behind store-prepared foods like rotisserie chicken and sushi, Windmill Farms’ “Dinner-a-go-go” program uses fresh ingredients from in the store and prepares the food daily.

Though it seems like there might not be much more that Windmill Farms can offer as a community market, Mann and company seem to have covered all the bases.

The sandwiches or the inexpensive quality meats and produce will draw you in, but it’s the welcoming atmosphere, outstanding customer service and genuine hospitality that will keep you walking through the doors.

Coming from someone who has six stamps on his sandwich card and JK marinated beef kebabs in his fridge, I invite you to not just visit, but experience what Windmill Farms really has to offer.

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